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BiCE Restaurante: New Italian in San Diego’s Old Gaslamp Quarter
Italian food is always a crowd pleaser. In San Diego, groups travel among many restaurants for dinearounds in the intoxicating Gaslamp Quarter. Among the 150 restaurants, BiCE Restorante is a refined Tuscan-style restaurant boasts a true sense of Italian excellence due to Italian Chef Mario Cassineri and his bold flavor choices. The space is warm, splashed with eggshell walls, sheer curtains and sprouting foliage, all dimmed by candle light. The novel-sized wine list is very Italian, just like the staff. A must-do before the entrées arrive is an exploration of the cheese and salumi bar, an expansive spread of delectable cheeses and dry cured meats. My favorite was the burrata with roasted Chino’s Farm peppers. In case you’re stumped for conversation, you can always point out the most abstract menu item: Blue Cheese cotton candy. Yes, it is as weird, and as delicious, as it sounds. All of us were unable to decide on just one entree so we left it up to Chef Cassineri to show off his best. We didn’t realize what we were in for. A whopping 10 courses later, we were more than full of beet risotto filled with gooey cheese sauce topped with scallops doused in squid ink and saffron. It seemed like all homemade pasta and meat dishes were smothered in extra virgin olive oil and a variety of spices. Every dish was a treat. This was one of those meals that you’ll always talk about, even after your final cup of Italian espresso.
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